Signing of the Paris climate change agreement

Later today senior representatives from 160 plus countries around the world will attend a ceremony at the UN in New York, to sign the climate change deal that was agreed in Paris last December at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 21st Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP21).

The landmark deal agreed greenhouse gas emission reductions that will mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, as well as a long term objective to keep global average temperature changes well within 2°C of pre-industrial levels, with efforts to aim towards 1.5°C. Crucially, a five-year review process to reduce emissions down towards the 1.5°C objective has been introduced, beginning with the UNFCCC’s Facilitative Dialogue in 2018.

The Paris agreement will come in to force when 55 countries, covering 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions ratify the agreement with domestic legislation.

Rachel McEwen, Director of Sustainability said: “The Paris climate change agreement was a landmark moment for efforts to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, and significantly has provided a strong signal for the business community as to the long term direction of travel on reducing emissions. A smooth and quick ratification process would provide additional confidence to investors in low carbon energy of the ongoing commitment from world leaders.

“However, the agreement still falls short of the long term objective of keeping temperature changes to within 2°C, let alone 1.5°C. That’s why SSE supports the “Coalition for Higher Ambition” calling for greater efforts to increase ambition towards 1.5°C. The EU ETS is an obvious area where more could, and should, be done to increase to ambition, and we will continue to support more action in this area.”

The statement from the “Coalition for Higher Ambition” on the Paris agreement signing ceremony can be found here.